Simplicity, a Song and New Life


Face it… we need it in our lives. I love simple things because they help me focus in and look at what is really important. I find myself continually being tugged in a million different directions and this can cause me to not focus on the deeper things of life. Simplicity allows me to do just that… get deeper.

When I find someone or something that allows a greater simplicity to be cultivated in my spiritual life, I am overwhelmed with joy. I need a simple faith to rise in me each and ever day. Being a spiritual leader, it’s important that we don’t forsake “simple faith” for “weighty issues” that can distract us and even pull us away from Jesus… our “first love”.

Will Reagan Banks House

So, this is my song of simplicity today. There’s not much to it… but there is SO MUCH to it also. Take a listen. Close your eyes. Let the words become your words. Let your heart connect with God. Ask the question… “If I give it all to you, will you make it all new.”

His whisper today is simply this… “Yes”. (2 Cor. 5:17)

“If I give it all to you will You make it all new?”
“If I open up my hands will You fill them again?”



Get Motivated and Don’t Quit! (video)

Every now and then we simply need some motivation. We need to be reminded of where we are going and why we shouldn’t stop.

Here is your motivation for today:

Some of my favorite lines from this video: 

“Surround yourself with greatness.” 

“If you want something then go get it.” 

“You want to do things because it’s the right thing to do… because you were meant to do it… because you’re a dreamer and that comes from your heart.”

What about you? What were some of your favorite lines?

I hope this helps you to keep pushing forward!


Top Ten Things For Me To Do in 2014

So yeah… lose more weight, run marathons and spend less time in front of the boob tube are all great goals for 2014, but not for me. I am a driven guy and God’s been putting some stuff in my heart that is a little different than the average check off lists for the new year.

Here’s my top 10 things I want to do in 2014:

(written in no specific order)

1. Listen to more music. I still remember when I was a teenager and would just sit around and listen to music. I would discover new music and just enjoy listening to CD after CD. In 2014, I’m going to spend a lot more time just sitting back and listening to music.

2. Go outside more. Each evening I’ve been sitting outside. No real reason. No fire. No marshmallows. Nobody else even has to be around. I just want to spend more time outside this year. So… each night I sit outside and it feels great.

3. Kiss my wife more. It’s easily overlooked. With three kids and two dogs and a growing church and lots of things to steal away my attention, I can’t let this simple task go undone. My lips will touch hers more this year.

4. Pet my dog more. Just sit down and pet her. Not brush her or make her obey me… just pet her and let her know that I care about her.

5. Sleep outside without a tent. I’ve never done it, but I live in “Heaven on Earth” Arizona… so why not! This year I will be sleeping under the stars more. I can’t wait!

6. Write and read poetry. I used to write poetry and have gotten away from it. This year, I’m coming back to my roots. I’ve been reading some great classical poetry and can’t wait to dig in even more.

7. Draw. I’ve always said that I’m not real “artsy”, but those days are done. I will draw more. I have a sketch pad, a desire and an eraser. I’m looking forward to it.

8. Drink less coffee and more herbal tea. I’m a HUGE coffee fan, but it’s time for a change. I’ve been digging on some great teas and am finding my taste changing and actually preferring tea.

9. Run more. I love running, so I want to run because I love it, not because I have to. That’s the difference. I want to make time to let my feet hit the pavement and breathe in the amazing air and life that surrounds me.

10. Spend more time with Jesus. Whether it is listening to Him speak through the Holy Spirit or softly talking to him as I drive through the desert, I just want to be with my Lord and Savior more this year. I want to be conciously aware of His presence and invite Him into even my smallest encounters.

Well, that’s it. I have another ten too… but I’ll leave those for another day.

Right now I’m going to listen to a brand new Pandora station as I pet my poodle and drink some steaming hot peach tea on my back porch. Life is good!

What about you? What are you going to do more this year? Whatever it is, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. You only get one life… don’t waste it!


Kerouac, Inspiration and Counting Breaths

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”
Jack Kerouac


I still get inspired from the lives of those who have passed before me. What about you?
Maybe loves ones or friends or beatnik authors who paved the roads before us. All of us have had that someone.

Take a minute and thank God for the life of that inspiration.

Now, what about you? Are you living to leave a legacy? Are you living to inspire? If not, why not?

May my life… and your life… always be feeding someone. Live to live longer than the number of your breaths.


The Bible Verse that Saved My Life

There’s one verse in the Bible that has stuck with me like glue for many years. It has carried me through many dark days and has NEVER lost any power in my life.

I have had seasons when people who said they’d always be there for me abandoned me, but this verse still stuck.

I have had moments when I was ready to completely give up and walk away, but this verse has been a beacon of light.

It has brought me hope when I was hopeless and joy in the dark night of my soul.

Take a minute and watch:

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What is your “life verse”? What verse from the Bible brings you the most hope?


Word of the Week: Intrepid

Main Entry: in·trep·id
Pronunciation: \in-ˈtre-pəd\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin intrepidus, from in- + trepidus alarmed
Definition: (adj.) fearless; adventurous

Sure, we all wrestle with some sort of fear. Whether it’s crime, world hunger or the realization that we will never eat another Twinkie. (Dang Hostess!)

But, if fear consumes you or seems to be taking over your life, this word has some great power for you.

Be fearless this year! Live for something greater thank yourself. There is a world that needs you.

Example: The intrepid soldier ran into the line of fire to save his buddy

Top 10 Books that Impacted Me in Some Way

I was recently asked to do this on my Facebook Page: 

In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard. They don’t have to be great books, just the ones that have touched you. 

Well, I took the time and answered. I thought I’d share it with you guys. 

Greetings! Well, let me just shoot from the hip. These are in no particular order… just answering the top 10 I’d like with me on a deserted island.

The Holy Bible: Each day. Every day. Nutrition to the soul

The Road: Cormac McCarthy – Gripping Fiction that shares a struggle for survival between a father and son

Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis – Takes me places every time I read it

On the Road: Jack Kerouac – The journey of the soul takes us to many different places. Hitch hiking, Train jumping and a beatnik adventure.

Any Hemingway Book – Simple language with a masculine tone is always good!

The Four Hour Workweek: Tim Ferriss ~ I’ve read it a dozen times and I’ll read it a dozen more. Changes life perspective.

Matthew Henry’s Exhaustive Commentary of the Bible: Great wisdom!

Walden: Henry David Thoreau ~ Keeps me thinking and appreciating the little things

The Message Bible – It is it’s own category. I could read this like a novel.

The Poetry of Robert Frost ~ His poem, “The Road Not Taken”, is a short picture of my life and I’d love to get lost in his work.

I know it’s pretty eclectic, but it’s me. What about you? Do you have a top 10? What is it?

Have a great Christmas!


Top Ten Reasons That Every Church Should be Using Facebook

There is a great book out there that can help the church grow Exponentially. Most of the population uses it… but we may have not thought about it as a “church growth” vehicle. It is FACEBOOK!

Let me break down the TOP TEN reasons that every church should be using Facebook from the book “Facebook Jesus: Using Facebook to Build and Grow a Church“.

Reason #1: Everybody is doing it! Duh! That’s right. There’s nothing like some good old fashioned peer pressure to start the reasons off. However, this is one time where this peer pressure is good because it leads us into…

Reason #2: Facebook gives you the potential to reach millions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth which has the power to set people free and bring hope and salvation to the world. Jesus called us to “Go into the nations of the world” (Matthew 28:16-20) and there is no easier way to touch every nation right now than through technology. Technology has opened up the world to us.

Reason #3: Communication is the key and Facebook makes it easy. Getting the word out to your church congregation has never been easier. With a few simple key strokes you can inform your entire congregation about an upcoming event, special announcement or a change to the schedule. Not only that, but it also helps with…

Reason #4: Gaining feedback from your congregation. What do the members of the church really think about the current sermon series or the next location for the youth summer camp? Facebook opens up the doors of communication wide and allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your congregation.

Reason #5: It allows you the ability to share the vision of the church through photos and videos. Words can’t capture the life of your church as well as pictures and videos. However, videos are hard to add to a monthly newsletter that is sent out to mailboxes across your city. With Facebook you can share the life of the church visually with only a few clicks of the mouse.

Reason #6: Building Relationships. Your church website is a one way street that leads from the staff of a church to the members of the church. Anyone who tries to travel the wrong way down that street can get ran over. Facebook opens up a superhighway of conversation as staff can talk with members and, more importantly, members can talk with staff and other members to develop deeper bonds and relationships with one another.

Reason #7: Gain synergy and momentum. There is no greater way to keep the momentum of your church moving throughout the week than a lively discussion on Facebook. It gets the ball rolling and keeps it going as the flames of interest are fanned from the leadership and the members that are involved in the discussion through comments.

Reason #8: It’s fun! If you are new to Facebook, you may be scared silly right now. It looks like so much work, but I promise you that in a very short amount of time, you will be enjoying the fresh interactions as you watch the church grow in a greater community and you are able to shine God’s light to so many people.

Reason #9: Your staff gain a personality and a voice. There are many people who are working hard to grow the church and the more interaction that they have online, the greater the reward is for the entire church body. The members of your church want to know that they can contact the pastor or the youth leader if they need to talk. I am still perplexed at how many times I have called and left a message for a church leader or staff member and have NEVER been called back. With Facebook, direct contact is opened between the staff and the members of the church. This will pay off in HUGE dividends as your church grows.

Reason #10: It’s FREE!!! Yes, that’s right… free. You don’t need to pay anything. If those reasons aren’t enough, you need to know that most of your congregation is probably already hanging out there. For absolutely no financial investment, you can begin to have a profound impact with those in your community and, ultimately, those around this globe. So, what are you waiting for?

To read more, buy the book in paperback or Kindle format by clicking here

Accountability Questions to Ask and Answer

Accountability is an important thing in the Christian life. John Wesley took this seriously and encouraged Christians to spend time in small groups and answer some simple questions.

Here are the questions that would be asked in their small groups: 

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass onto another what was told me in confidence?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work , or habits?
5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
6. Did the Bible live in me today?
7. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
8. Am I enjoying prayer?
9. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
16. How do I spend my spare time?
17. Am I proud?
18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
20. Do I grumble and complain constantly? 

21. Is Christ real to me?

In Chuck Colson’s book “The Body“, he tells about how Chuck Swindoll was so moved by these questions that he altered them and would ask a group of male Christian leaders that he would meet with on a regular basis these questions: 

1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?
2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?
4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
5. Have you given priority time to your family?
6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?
7. Have you just lied to me?

These are all great questions.

However, at the heart of it all is this simple question… Do you have someone in your life that you can be honest with? If not, you are in dangerous waters. Find someone soon.

Which question was your favorite? Post below and tell me why. 

Using Facebook to Grow Your Church? A Perfect Solution.

Facebook and Church? Can they be used together? I say… ABSOLUTELY!

I’m not going to give you a play by play historical breakdown of the history of Facebook. For an incredibly accurate rendition of its birth feel free to watch the movie “The Social Network” or consult Wikipedia (sarcasm intended). All you need to know is that Facebook was birthed from an idea to develop a way to link people together and have them grow in community with one another.

Now, with that simple definition, I want you to think about the vision of the church. Is there a similarity between the purpose of Facebook and the purpose of the church? “Building community” and “Growing community” are both goals of Facebook and the church. “Linking people with one another” is both a goal of Facebook and the church. “Developing a venue to share ideas and life” is both a goal of Facebook and the church.

These two things… Facebook and the Church… have many of the same goals at their core, but our ultimate goal as a church was made crystal clear through the mouth of Jesus before He ascended into heaven when He called us to “make disciples”. The question comes in… “How can the church use Facebook to reach and disciple more people in fulfillment of the Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20)? Can the church use this modern technology to help fulfill this central command of Jesus?

I can answer this question quickly with a resounding “YES!” In fact, I believe that God can use this technology in great ways to reach many people with the Good News of Jesus. It can be a tool to reach people, disciple people and mobilize people to change the world.

I recently asked a simple question on my personal Facebook page which said…

“Has Facebook affected your spiritual life in a positive way? If so, how?”

The replies came quick and they varied greatly. Here are a few examples.

Brandon: By friending you. True story. Film at 11.” (What a Dork!)

Jessica: Yes, because that is how I found out about THE PLACE (the church that we pastor)

Marla: Yes. I love reading inspiring stories that people post. Music, Bible quotes, things going on at THE PLACE! Prayer chains… really helps to keep the spirit going strong.”

Tara: Helped. It holds me more accountable to post things that are aligned with my faith walk. I also agree with Marla.”

Justin: I have met new people from THE PLACE and whenever ur having a bad day they are always there to post good stuff and lift up your mood.”

Brandon: Tara… I really hope folks don’t hold me accountable… I have a feeling I’ve posted some terrible things on here! Lol!” (Dork…Again!)

As you can see in this small sampling from a simple post, Facebook has affected these lives in an incredibly positive way. There are thousands more that are represented by you and the many eyes who are reading these words right now. There are so many people wading in the waters of Facebook that have the potential to be incredibly impacted by you and your church… if you only knew how.

For some step by step transformation skills or to move from a Facebook Ignoramous to a FB Ninja… check out the book “Facebook Jesus: Using Facebook to Build and Grow a Church”. It will get you moving quick!

Author, Speaker and Lover of Life